The immersion of enterprises into digital environments and the merging of business and engineering processes are bound to impact traditional approaches to strategic planning.
HORIZONS, Spaces, TIME
Strategic planning can be summarily defined as the alignment of two kinds of horizons:
- External horizons are set on markets, competition, and technologies, with views and anticipations coming through data analytics and game theory.
- Internal horizons are set on enterprise architectures, with business models and policies on one hand, organization and systems on the other. Both are set on purposes, the former aiming at specificity and edge, the latter at sharing and stability.
As far as the strategic alignment of means (internal horizons) and ends (external horizons) are concerned, time is of the essence; that’s where is the fault line: whatever enterprise planned time-frames, they can only be mapped to fuzzy or unreliable ones outside. As a corollary, alignments have to be carried out either as a continuum, or through discrete and periodic adjustments to predictive models.
The future begins now
As suggested by Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen, the survival of enterprises in their evolutionary arms race doesn’t depend on their absolute speed set against some universal time-frame but on the relative one set by markets and competitors. Taking into account the role of a reliable and up-to-date basis for decision-making, strategic schemes can be characterized in terms of virtual and augmented reality:
- Strategies set along predefined time-frames are by construct loosely tied to business environments since discrepancies are bound to develop during the intervals between anticipations (virtual reality) and realizations (actual reality). Hence the need of overall and planned adjustments.
- By contrast, strategies set dynamically through OODA (observations, orientation, decision, action) loops can be carried out without overall anticipations; like augmented reality (AR) they mix fine-grained data observations and business intelligence with additional layers of information deemed to be relevant.
The first category has for long been a cornerstone of established strategic planning, with its implicit assumption of a conceptual gap between ‘Here and Now’ and future visions. But the induced latencies and discrepancies may become liabilities if enterprises have to continuously adjust representations and policies.
From Governance DIZZINESS to Strategic Missteps
As self-conscious organisms immersed into competitive environments enterprises survival depends on their awareness of changes.
For mammals such awareness is a biological capability: any discrepancy between perceived movements and their counterpart in the vestibular system is to generate motion sickness or vertigo.
Enterprises have no such built-in mechanism yet their awareness is nonetheless contingent on the alignment of representations with observations and orientations. As a corollary, out-of-kilter time-frames and outdated schemes may remain unnoticed, introducing governance dizziness and strategic missteps.
Such drawbacks can be limited with decision-making set along differentiated time-frames, e.g:
- Operational decisions, to be carried out within processes time-frame (a).
- Architecture decisions, for changes in assets affecting the design of business processes and supporting platforms (b).
- Organizational decisions, for changes affecting roles and processes (c).
That would allow the weaving of fine-grained policies across enterprise architectures and along consistent time-frames, mixing actual observations, representations of current and planned assets and resources, and anticipations of markets changes a competitors moves.
On that basis strategic alignments would not have to be set at fixed time for overall models, but could be managed continuously, with decision-making finely tuned for targets and timing:
- External horizons: business decisions could be balanced by the need to know with the reliability of available information.
- Internal horizons: decisions about organization and systems could be taken at the “last responsible moment”, i.e until not taking side could change the possible options.
Strategic planning could then be defined by crossing these rationales at the relevant granularity.
- Digital Transformation & Homeostasis
- Governance, Regulations & Risks
- Events & Decision Making
- Operational Intelligence & Decision Making
- Data Mining & Requirements Analysis
- Value Chains & Enterprise Architecture
- Capabilities vs Processes
- From Processes to Services
- Alignment for Dummies
- Alignment: from Empathy to Abstraction
- Alternative Facts and Augmented Reality
- Why Virtual Reality is Late
- EA: Work Units & Workflows
- EA: Legacy & Latency
- New Year: Regrets or Expectations ?
- A Brief Ontology Of Time
- EA: Entropy Antidote
- Business Agility vs Systems Entropy